Tips and advice for communicating with your team when you are in different time zones.
Geographical distance and different time zones are terms we often hear since business has become increasingly international nowadays. Communication or collaboration that spans various parts of the world can seem complicated and inefficient. Luckily, we can say that it can be the other way around if done right, that is. Working in different time zones can increase overall business efficiency.
Whenever you feel that you are facing challenges communicating with your team members in different time zones, these tips may help you along the way.
Embrace the use of technology
We live in a world that has made the technology available for immediate use. As a result, teams are no longer required to work in the same location or even at the same time.
However, keep in mind that working in different time zones can often lead to confusion when you’re scheduling meetings.
So, to keep the overall work efficient and smooth and avoid mistakes when scheduling meetings, you should consider using the Timezone API. Timezone APIs allow you to display the local time zone of your team members. This will help you improve communication among your remote team and avoid misunderstandings.
Other tools you should consider are task management software and instant messaging tools as they will allow employees to make updates at different times of the day. This will help global employees see and identify which tasks should be completed next.
Be aware of the times you set
When interacting and working with many people across the globe, you must get your head around time zones and be precise when setting up meetings and not overlap the times. We’ve all seen offices with clocks that display the time of other offices across the globe as a way for easy reference, but you should try including a time standard when discussing times, both spoken or in emails and invites.
Remember daylight savings time traps
Something that needs to be mentioned is Daylight Saving Time (DST), although it may add a bit of complexity. When DST starts, the clock moves forward one hour in spring while it moves back one hour in the fall. Even though this is common in most countries, not every country observes DST and for instance, in the US, there are exceptions in states like Arizona and Hawaii.
In addition, the start and the end date for DST differ depending on the country. Several years ago, the United Kingdom moved from GMT to BST on 30 March and on 26 October will return to GMT once again. Meanwhile, in the United States, DST began on 9 March and will end on 2 November. So, on both sides, there are certain days when the time zone difference is an hour out from the usual time, which is worth considering when making plans.
Know when to contact your colleagues
When being located far from the company’s office, you might feel pressured to answer any phone call or email sent your way. You might also feel that you must confirm any meeting scheduled outside the regular working hours.
However, boundaries are very important for all parties involved and should be respected at all times. The most important part here is establishing proper communications and openly discussing the designated working hours and boundaries with your dispersed team members.
This will help everyone learn to strategize better, be aware of the different timezone-related challenges and needs, and find solutions to any work-related issues.
All this will give you and your team a better idea of when to send emails, task assignments and schedule meetings in a respectful way.
Learn to be flexible
When you work remotely or are located in a different place than the rest of your team members, it’s not easy to establish an easy communication and solid relationship with your colleagues.
A way to avoid such team blockers related to time zones is to make efforts to have a flexible schedule at certain times of the day.
This will allow you to jump on a call without having to previously schedule it. Use a tool of your preference and leave room in your agenda for quick chats and check-ins.
The key to communicating with your remote coworkers lies in learning proper timezone etiquette.
This means showing respect, creating schedules, and using proper tools to include everyone to ensure that the workflow is moving along and nothing slows down or confuses the business process.